"Why wouldn't the cops get our car? It's very mind boggling." – Jackie White.

For an auto enthusiast, a stolen car represents a roller coaster of emotions, ranging from severe dejection upon realizing what's happened to elation once your car has been recovered. Of course, that roller coaster doesn't always end with such happy feelings, as all too often, a vehicle isn't discovered, or has been found totally stripped of its valuable parts. For Rick White, of Portland, OR, even that low would be an improvement over what he's been experiencing.

White purchased a new Plymouth Barracuda back in 1970. He raced it, and maintained it, until it was stolen in 2001. Despite this, White, and his wife Jackie, never gave up hope that they'd find the Plymouth again.

After years of searching, last month saw a breakthrough. A towing company in northeast Portland, Budget Towing, mailed a letter to the Whites, as they were still listed as the vehicle's owner. The garage had the car in storage, although the man named by Budget, Lee Sitton, had racked up thousands in unpaid storage fees, and the Cuda was slated to be auctioned off. When the Whites contacted the garage, though, Sitton had squared things up, and had retaken possession of the car. That's when the police were called in.

But to the dismay of Rick and Jackie, they were told that despite being listed as the vehicle's owner by the state, the police couldn't march in and seize the Plymouth. That's because the statute of limitations only lasted for three years, Sergeant Pete Simpson of the Portland Police told KATU-2.

"Why wouldn't the cops get our car? It's very mindboggling," said Jackie White, a sentiment echoed by her husband.

"How come police don't have a warrant to go in and get my property?" Rick White asked KATU.

Sitton, for his part, remains adamant that the car is his, telling KATU that he bought the car years ago, he has a bill of sale to prove it and that he didn't believe it was stolen. Things are made more suspicious, though, due to Sitton's dodging of questions relating to who or where he bought it from. He also wouldn't offer an explanation as to why he hasn't titled the Cuda yet. State law requires a vehicle be titled within 30 days of purchase, according to KATU.

"It's a matter of, 'I've got your property, na-na-na-na-na,'" Rick White said of Sitton's possession of the cherished Plymouth.

For now, police are attempting to figure out the legal parameters here, although considering that the Whites are still listed as the owners according to the state, we aren't totally sure what needs to be figured out. Scroll down, and have a look at KATU-2's full report on this frustrating story.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 73 Comments
      Hernan
      • 5 Months Ago
      This is stupid. The statute of limitations, if any, will be for the theft offense. However, there is no such thing as a statute of limitations that would bar the recovery of stolen property by the last person who had rightful title to the property.
        Colin Frost
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Hernan
        Easier said than done. Had the same exact thing happen to me - had a very distinct car stolen, found it years later (traced through sellers on unique parts and traced it back to some meth house that had it sitting in their yard in plain view) Couldn't get Anaheim police to do shit for me, call me back, or even come talk to me when I went into the station NOR Apple Valley police--where the car ended up. Useless pieces of shit.
          Willie
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Colin Frost
          just grab it cant be reported stolen if they dont have a title
        jrc11340
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Hernan
        they give sunken treasure back don't they?
        Texanrob
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Hernan
        Wrong Heman, the statute of limitations means the statute of limitations period. The couple most likely collected the insurance on the car. Technically the car would be the insurance company's property.
      IS-F Hegemony
      • 5 Months Ago
      How many autobloggers can we get together in the Portland area to go repatriat said car or at least legally approach the unlawful owner and find legal ways to make his life very difficult until he does?
      Gabriel Aguirre
      • 5 Months Ago
      Ruin the thief's construction company. It's really not hard.. Post flyers all over town that the owner is a thief.. Guaranteed that the car will be returned before the week is out.
        philntx
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Gabriel Aguirre
        He would just get an attorney and and file a slander case against the real owner.
          Gabriel Aguirre
          • 5 Months Ago
          @philntx
          How is it slander when it's already proven that the car is in fact stolen property? You really are just stating facts.
      Bobby Robinson
      • 5 Months Ago
      So this guy is rich and wont give it back? What a DICK!
        Neez
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Bobby Robinson
        He got a good deal on the car.
      Memphis
      • 5 Months Ago
      Let the outrage begin. Cue all the pitchforks and torches!
      BipDBo
      • 5 Months Ago
      That's almost as despicable as this comment system. By the way, I wonder what would happen of the guy simply got a slim jim and stole his car back? Would he be arrested simply for driving his own car home?
        Quality
        • 5 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        Legally, he wouldn't even need to steal the car! A little simple surveillance work and preparing can get him his car back. First, he needs to re-plate the vehicle. You don't need the actual vehicle to get plates, just proof of ownership; title, old plates or registration, etc.) Then, he needs to watch for it to leave the property (private) where it is being kept, follow until the driver gets out, replace the plates with his new ones, then if he still has keys, try them. If not, call a locksmith from the parking lot and pay to get it re-keyed. If the bogus owner comes out and starts a ruckus, THEN call the cops to settle it and its now up to who has ownership proof and who doesn't. Easy-peasy.
      btulliani
      • 5 Months Ago
      Dear Mr.Lee Sitton, do the right thing and give back the car to the rightful owner.
      Mark Ostruszka
      • 5 Months Ago
      Since when does the law protect criminals? That car is the rightful property of the person who holds the title regardless of who has possession. No Bill Of Sale.... No Title..... Equals NO CAR
        Quality
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Mark Ostruszka
        Not necessarily; What you are saying is that even if you sold a vehicle to another party, it's still yours until they re-title it. Doesn't work that way. If the buyer doesn't re-title, even though it's in your name, if he has proof he bought it (canceled check, bill of sale, etc.), then you have no rights to the vehicle. In a perfect world, people WOULD transfer title in the allotted time, but that doesn't always happen. It seldom comes up, though, because sellers don't usually go back and try to grab the vehicle (although I do know of one person who did just that after seeing his old vehicle broke down on the side of a road for a week!).
      GoGOGadgetZOom
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'd go get my shit back, by any means necessary!
      Brodz
      • 5 Months Ago
      That's disgusting. The car is still listed as his. Put down the donuts, and drive over there and arrest that man, and seize the Plymouth.
      sgentilejr
      • 5 Months Ago
      The Statue of Limitations applies only to their Old stolen vehicle report. Since they are still listed as the 'legal owners' of the vehicle in State records all they have to do i once again file a new stolen vehicle report that their vehicle was stolen. Then go and take their vehicle back. If the person holding the vehicle attempts to interfere or prevent them from 'taking it back' all they have to do then is call the Police and show the police their State issued title as their proof of ownership. Since the guy holding their vehicle does not have a State issued title for it ___ he cannot prove it belongs to him or that he has any legal claim to it..
      Ben
      • 5 Months Ago
      They should hire a towing/repo company to follow him when he drives it, then just use the key the whites have to drive away with it and if he says anything just show him the title.
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